NFL Real Talk: Week Five

Hope You Learned Your Smith N’ Lesson
Photo Credit: John Martinez Pavliga

I’m 2-2 in all four of my leagues. It’s a fascinating spot to be in. On one hand, a lot of us end up there via bad luck (facing the highest scoring team of the week often). On the other, a lot of scrub suckas find their way to that record by sheer luck (facing shitty teams). From a strategic standpoint, it’s not a bad spot to be in. You are essentially one or two games back from the top team and there are still nine weeks of regular season play left. And hey, at least you aren’t 1-3 like some of the bums in your league.

Yet a 2-2 record is hardly a cue for laurel resting. Momentum in fantasy football changes hands more often than naked pictures of your mom, so as quickly as you can jump into the race, you can fall out of it. This is the time to be aggressive. Shop deals to all the owners in your league and drop the dead weight sitting on your roster.

The good news is that fantasy owners are starting to get wet over the idea of making trades, so throw some offers out there and see what’s up. A couple of smart deals (not necessarily big ones) here, a few sly pickups there, and you can turn a 2-2 slumper into a 9-4 thumper.

More after the jump:

-Is Doug Martin a buy or sell player right now? Pros: he’s a very talented back playing in a run-heavy offense and his head coach has compared him to All-World RB Ray Rice. Cons: he’s averaged 3.74 YPC this season and lost playing time to LeGarrette Blount and D.J. Ware in Week Four. Let’s get one thing clear: if you lose carries to LeGarrette Blount, you suck (or are at least in the process of sucking). Still, I have to think that Blount’s superior sucktitude will ultimately prevail, and Martin will end up being the bell cow of this ground attack. Martin couldn’t be cheaper and he’s still the starting RB in Tampa.

-Luke Ryan (prolific author of “Gambling State University”) really loves Alex Smith. The dude sends e-mails denouncing me for ranking Smith so low in “Tiers, Not Fears” QB rankings (27th to be exact). He even sent me some rudimentary sketches of what he imagines Alex Smith’s penis looks like. Yet after a couple of productive weeks, Smith has gone right back to being a fantasy joke. Where those e-mails at now Luke? Smith had zero TDs in a 34-0 win over the Jets, marking the first time ever that a team straight ass-whooped somebody that bad with zero points from their starting QB. He’s a game manager folks, plain and simple. Platoon QB? Sure, you can roll with that. Every-week starter? Hell naw.

-While describing how bad Alex Smith is for fantasy purposes can hardly be considered ground-breaking fantasy insight, it’s worth mentioning his non-breakout season since everyone seemed to be so high on his receiving weapons a few weeks ago. Vernon Davis specifically is about to fall off a cliff. I’ve mentioned him as a player to trade away twice here on “NFL Real Talk,” but I promise this is my last sell-high sell. The Al Bundy TD total is nice, but Davis has amassed just 22 targets this season (or 4.4 per game) and is averaging less than 50 yards a contest. Last year, he ended up being used a ton for blocking, so the lack of production in the passing game should not come as a surprise. Fortunately, fantasy owners still consider him one of the better TEs, so there’s definitely a market for his services.

Brian Hartline is a popular name this week after a 253 yard game, and let me officially say that I am on board with him as a Danny Amendola-esque PPR weapon. His 48 targets are third in the league among WRs, so expect him to be a productive, every-week WR3 or flex play.

-Though he’s been inconsistent in the stat columns, Randall Cobb is still worth holding onto and even starting as a flex play. The Packers have been very underwhelming offensively for most of the season, but their Week Four explosion is a sign of things to come. Cobb was a big part of Green Bay’s offense (eight targets, seven catches, 66 yards) and is the most dynamic player on the team not name Aaron Rodgers. Look, the Packers aren’t dumb. They know that putting the ball in Cobb’s hands is a must. Shit, they’ve even lined him up in the backfield at times. As the Packers offense continues to put up points, don’t think that Cobb will be left out. Even the frailest guy in the gang bang finds a way to score when there’s plenty of action to go around.

Hakeem Nicks’ knee is not improving, which means Domenik Hixon should be universally owned. Hixon knows the Giants offense well as he’s been on the team for years, and Eli Manning obviously has no problem looking his way (11 targets Sunday). Hixon has always had wheels and some after-the-catch ability, and it would not be a big surprise to see him have a Victor Cruz-esque emergence if Nicks is out long-term.

-Speaking of gifted players who need the ball in their hands, this is your last warning on T.J. Graham. He’s been highlighted twice already on “NFL Real Talk,” and was targeted a season-high eight times on Sunday. He remains the most explosive WR in Buffalo and even though he’s a rookie, Chan Gailey’s offense is creative enough to find ways to get him the ball.

-Trade Greg Olsen. TDs will always be an issue in Carolina with Cam Newton and the Panthers RBs bogarting red zone opportunities, and despite his 31 targets, Olsen is averaging  just five catches and 64 yards a game.

-Shout out to Matt Rafferty for pointing us all in the direction of Joique Bell last week on “Depth Chart Digging.” Bell made plays out of the backfield (six catches, 72 yards) in Week Four while Mikel LeShoure fumbled/sucked. Bell isn’t a burner, but he’s a tough runner who keeps pushing forward and his potential as a receiving weapon for Matt Stafford make him worthy of stashing in PPR leagues.

-If only the Texans would unleash James Casey. The dude is playing primarily as the fullback, but he’s also the backup TE and is a dynamic athlete at that position. He flashed moments of brilliance last year, and he caught all five of the passes thrown his way Sunday (36 yards, TD). He’s not about to unseat Owen Daniels, but if Daniels (who has missed significant time in the past) were to ever go down with an injury, Casey would be an intriguing weapon as a receiver you can play at the RB position.



About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.